Is ADHD Medication Causing a Receding Hairline?'

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Question: My son of 18 is starting to have a receding hairline. He has been taking a medication called Vivance for ADHD and we are wondering if that could be the cause of it. I have been taking Silicea for my brittle nails and it works very good for nails. In the information for Silicea it also says that it helps with hair quality and skin complexion. What do you think of this?

Answer: Hi, Marie-Louise. Unfortunately as your son is not a client and therefore we do not have access to his medical records we cannot give you any specific medical advice of this nature. What we can tell you is that some medications can cause hair loss as a side effect and this is almost always listed as a potential side effect on the Patient Information Leaflet which is included with the medication.

If your son did not receive one of these leaflets with his medication you can look it up on the drug's website or ask whomever dispensed the medication for another copy.

Another reason new medications can cause initial hair fall from all over the scalp is that the body take a while to adjust to what it can at first see as an 'invader'.

If either of the above scenarios are the case, the hair loss usually becomes noticeable around three months into taking the medication and should clear up within another three to six months of its own accord. This condition is known as Telogen Effluvium and can be treated professionally despite being temporary.

However, if your son is solely experiencing a receding hairline and no shedding from elsewhere on his scalp, it is most likely to be male pattern baldness.

This can be triggered or exacerbated in those with a genetic predisposition to the condition by stress - physical or emotional. So, if your son has been having difficulties before or since taking his new medication, it could be this pressure or anxiety that has accelerated this hereditary condition. Male hair loss can present any time following puberty so, although it tends to be more common in men in their 20s and over, premature hair loss is actually fairly - and increasingly - common.

Taking a vitamin or mineral supplement will not treat genetic hair loss; although we have no knowledge of the product you mention, hair vitamins and these types of products are designed to help improve the quality of the hair, not to treat hair loss. As such, although they may be useful alongside clinically-proven treatments, they are unlikely to help on their own.

As it seems you live abroad, we would advise your son to complete a quick Online Consultation so that he can fill out the relevant form and upload photos. After this, one of our specialists can provide him with a personalised diagnosis of his condition and recommendations for hair loss treatments, as appropriate.

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